Quality of Life Research

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 509–520 | Cite as

Care recipients’ perceptions of activity-related life space and life satisfaction during and after geriatric rehabilitation

  • Anna Cristina ÅbergEmail author


The debate concerning older people’s life spaces should be based on subjective priorities of the elderly themselves. The purpose of this study was therefore to improve the understanding of preferences of elderly care recipients regarding activity-related life space (ARLS) and life satisfaction. A mainly qualitative design was used. Fifteen persons aged 80–94 years, undergoing geriatric rehabilitation, were interviewed during hospital stay and on two follow-up occasions after discharge. Transcribed interviews were analyzed in line with the thematic framework approach. The results point to three approaches related to preferences of ARLS: hierarchical limitations, changing continuity, and boundary breaking. Adaptive approaches were employed when physical incapacity was considered a hindrance to activity, adaptations which as a rule resulted in limitations of ARLS preferences. Activity related to the area ‘close to one’s own body’ emerged as one of three identified key activities with importance for life satisfaction, the others being socializing and going out of doors. Continuity of activity in a familiar life space was expressed as a common ideal. If the aim of geriatric rehabilitation is to improve care recipients’ life satisfaction, attention needs to be paid to the subjective dimensions of the ARLS in the goal setting.


Geriatrics Rehabilitation Life space Activity Life satisfaction 



Activities of daily living


Activity-related life space


General motor function assessment scale


The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health




Quality of life



This study was supported by grants from the Swedish Foundation for Health Care Sciences and Allergy Research, the Medical Faculty at Uppsala University, the Thuréus Fund for Geriatric Research, and the Geriatric Research Foundation. The author thanks Birgitta Sidenvall for contributing with design ideas and Annika Bring and Bo Kälvemark for carrying out some of the interviews.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences/GeriatricsUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.The Swedish School of Sport and Health SciencesStockholmSweden

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